Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On Savoring

Yesterday I was struck, quite suddenly, with the change coming my way soon.

Lillian, our youngest, the baby, the grand finale, will be going to kindergarten next year. 

And what exactly does that mean?

For starters, these years of being a full time mom are through. Yes, I know they will always need Mom, that does not stop and certainly not at kindergarten. 

But the years of me being with her the most are over. 

I will no longer be the only, or maybe biggest is a better way to say it, influence in her life. The other two already spend more waking time with someone besides me. We hope and pray they have excellent, Jesus-loving teachers, especially during these formative years. 

Kindergarten also has me deeply introspecting: Did I do these years well? Will they look back and remember Fun Mommy who played in the sandbox, caught bugs, creek stomped, read stories, played house, school, and doctor? Will they think of the countless batches of cookies, the reading times, the thousands millions of diapers changed? Will they remember how I laid awake with them, wiped their tears, bandaged their knees, prayed over them, for them, for their future, for God to use them to do great things for His Name? Will those be the things that sunk in? Or is Yelling, Impatient, Exhausted, Tearful Mom the one they will remember? 

I'm also wondering why I didn't savor these days more? Yes, they are so hard, and yes, sometimes a day can feel like a year. Buckling people into cars seats is a stage that haunts my nightmares. Someone is always throwing up. There is no such thing as a good night's sleep. Life. Is. Hard.

But now, on the edge of these preschool days being over, I am astonished by their speed. Like, cannot understand how nine years have passed since the first positive pregnancy test. 

So for the next stage I am determined to savor more. I will be present. I will live in the moment instead of always trying to capture it on my camera. I will listen without being distracted by a whistling phone when they are telling me all about the Garfield comic strip they read. I will pray with them, for them, over them in earnest. I will push them on the swing until my arms feel like they will fall off. I will help them learn "Yankee Doodle" on the piano and marvel when they get it. 

Becuase if the next nine years go as fast as these first nine have gone, an empty nest is an eyeblink away. 

Here's my unsolicited parenting advice, talking as much to myself as anyone out there, eight and a half years in, for what it's worth:

Parent. Even when the people who need so much of you, ALL of you, are being unsavory. Do not check out. Parenting is not convenient. It interrupts conversations. It interrupts "me time." It interrupts dream vacations, date nights, evenings with friends and blog posts. It is emotional. It is exhausting. It is heart and gut wrenching. It is hard. It is hard. We cannot take a time out when things are messy. Be there. Look in their eyes. Sacrifice for them. Kiss them more. Hug them more. Listen more. Listen more intently. Tell them they are princes and princesses, sons and daughters of the Most High King. There will be nothing more important in this life than parenting well, for the glory of the Lord. This, to me, is the savoring. 

Parent, by the grace of God.  

And savor it. 


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